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Migz Zubiri bucks tax on books: Mas OK magbasa kaysa puro Internet!

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Books should remain tax-free, period.

Senator Migz Zubiri stressed this on Monday as he vowed to oppose a provision on the proposed Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act to tax books and other reading materials.

“The internet cannot replace the value of reading and the literacy skills that accompany it,” the Senate majority leader stressed.

The bill, which is actually the package 2 of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, will “expand the tax base by repealing 123 special laws on investment tax incentives.”

One such provision that is listed to be repealed in TRAIN 2 is Section 12 of RA 8047, the Book Publishing Industry Development Act, which ensures that “books, magazines, periodicals, newspapers, including book publishing and printing, as well as its distribution and circulation, shall be exempt from the coverage of the expanded value added tax law.”

RA 8047 also guarantees the duty-free importation of books, as well as raw materials to be used in local publishing, provided that a publisher or distributor is registered with the National Book Development Board, and their book development activities are included in the Investment Priority Plan (IPP).

Should this provision be successfully repealed under TRAIN 2, tax incentives previously afforded to persons and enterprises in the publishing industry will be stripped away, which will likely drive up retail prices of reading materials—trade and textbooks alike.

“I will oppose the provision that will tax books and other reading, learning, and instructional materials and software,” Zubiri said of the bill, which is currently pending in the Senate.

As RA 8047 encompasses all types of publications, its repeal would affect the prices not only of books for leisure, but books for educational use as well, including instructional materials for teachers.

“The tax exemption on these items should remain, as books are an integral part of education and learning,” Zubiri said.

We should keep books as affordable and accessible as possible,” the senator from Bukidnon said.